From International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Monday, March 03, 2003 12:00:00 AM
(Nairobi, Kenya) -The International
Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) in partnership with Agence
Francaise de Developpment
(AFD) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) today began the translocation
of an estimated nine rare white rhinos from Lake Nakuru National
Park to Meru
National Park as part of ongoing efforts to restock wildlife species into
the vast protected area.
The rhinos will be joining the park's
famous rhino Mukora, which was the sole survivor of a 1989 attack
by poachers in which the park's five other
at the time were killed. After the attack, Mukora was moved to Lake Nakuru
National Park before he returned back home to Meru in 2001. Although the
white rhino is not native to Kenya, those that have been introduced to Lake
National Park, as part of a plan to protect the species from extinction,
have flourished, making this one of Kenya's most successful rhino sanctuaries.
Commenting at the start of the one-week translocation exercise,
IFAW's Programme Officer for East Africa, Steve Njumbi said, "This
is indeed a great success for all involved and especially IFAW,
and we hope that all the targeted animals
will be moved soon to their new home in Meru National Park whose rangeland
is expansive and ideal for them."
The KWS Director, Michael Wamithi,
emphasized that, "Kenya Wildlife Service
is committed to making Meru a safe and rewarding tourist destination and
wildlife habitat, and to providing the security necessary to protect these
from the threat of poachers."
The translocation exercise is part of
an on-going redevelopment programme for what was hailed as one the country's
most spectacular parks in the
'80s but which, sadly, was literally brought to its knees by 1990. The
park, with 12 rivers, became a haven for bandits and poachers who dealt
toll -- wiping out almost the entire rhino population and reducing other
key species such as elephants considerably.
With assistance from IFAW
and other international donors such as AFD, the park's management
capacity has benefited from revamped security operations,
research and a rebuilding of the park infrastructure, making Meru one
the most sought after tourist destinations in Kenya.
of these highly endangered rhinos will assist in rebuilding the
animal populations that once inhabited Meru National Park. IFAW
provided support in the translocation in terms of drugs worth US$ 35,000
to move these rhinos and later in the year reticulated giraffes and reedbucks,
as part of its US$1,000,000 commitment to the Meru project.
are regarded as one of African conservation's greatest success
stories - shot almost to extinction in the early part of the last
Kenya now has about 190 in total spread within parks and private ranches.
is the second rhino relocation effort to Meru National Park. In
2002, seven rhinos were successfully moved to the park in a joint IFAW
To learn more about the Meru project and how you can help support
IFAW projects worldwide, visit www.ifaw.org.